My Approach: Giving Your Marriage the Best Chance for Success
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) is a fundamentally different approach to helping couples end distress and regain closeness.
When couples argue repeatedly or become increasingly distant from each other, the actual causes rarely lie with, "We don't know how to communicate" or "We never go on date nights any more" or "We hardly ever have sex" or "He/she says 'yes' to a commitment, but never follows through."
These are problems, indeed; however, these are typically symptoms of one or both of you becoming more disconnected, of important relationship needs and wants not being met or of the loss of closeness and security in the relationship.
Unlike some other marriage therapy approaches, EFT is based on solid, scientific theory of human needs. EFT gets to the "heart" of the disconnection and distance that has come between you. We go beneath the symptoms, such as those mentioned above, to discover the unmet needs in the relationship. You'll rediscover the unique strengths of your marriage or relationship. Importantly, you will understand yourself and your partner in a way that helps you powerfully reconnect and remain close into the future.
Unique Strengths of this Approach
EFT offers these important advantages:
- It’s a brief model. Couples may begin noticing and feeling a difference in the first phase of the process.
- Neither partner is "blamed" or shamed in the counseling process. In viewing the short video on the home page, you'll learn that the "negative cycle" or arguing or distancing is the source of your difficulties.
- EFT is the most well-researched and proven couples-counseling approach. Research continues currently and training and learning is ongoing for EFT therapists. Choosing a marriage counselor with EFT training can give your relationship the best chance for success.
- Change can be lasting. Research shows that EFT can create improvement in 90% of couples and that some couples report continued improvement even after counseling has ended.
How Science & Love Come Together
EFT brings together the essential science of romantic love. We humans are hard-wired to seek a close connection with one other special person. Research actually shows how our brain chemistry changes with closeness to our partner. We can become calm when faced with outside stressors (Bad day at the office? A hug helps!) when our partner just listens to us.
EFT is based on the solid theory of "attachment." This powerful bond is learned when we are young and is then reflected in our adult relationships. We can, however, learn to change our attachment styles with the help of our partner, to become more secure in the marriage and more trusting.
When we don't feel our partner is emotionally available to us, our brain reacts -- often quickly and with emotions that are not always helpful in those moments. So, if your spouse is late getting home from work, you may become angry. However, you might truly be afraid something has happened to them, that they don't understand you become worried.
In EFT counseling, you'll learn the neuroscience of how your brain reacts (not to worry, I'll make it easy to understand), how your habits of responding a certain way could be causing conflict and how to slow down your reactions and have a productive conversation about your fears and needs.
The Proven Road Map
EFT provides couples with a comprehensive approach that contains all the "building blocks" of healthy, loving relationships.
Here's what's different -- and most important -- about this method:
- You'll learn to understand yourself on a deeper level and to gently bring to the surface how you interact in your relationship and to help your partner understand your deepest fears.
- You'll also learn about your partner's deeper feelings, going beneath what you experience on the surface. Couples can then discover the root causes of their disconnection, enabling them to achieve lasting change.
- You both will understand your emotions and how each of you responds under stress.
- You'll learn to communicate in ways that your partner can truly understand and appreciate. Through this deeper understanding, you'll learn to resolve differences, change patterns of arguing and rebuild the loving connection that originally brought you together.
Healing Past Hurts in Your Marriage
Imagine you are slow-dancing, nice and close. It's probably impossible not to step on your partner's toes from time to time. Certainly it's not intentional to hurt your partner.
In any marriage or relationship, it's also impossible to not hurt our partner's feelings on occasion: something we forgot, being insensitive to their feelings, things we say or don't say, do or don't do.
The difficulty for most couples occurs when they don't know how to talk through the hurtful event and to "repair" the event in a way that the other person feels understood. The event may be repeatedly brought up in an argument because healing never fully took place.
Some hurts are, of course, bigger than others: Not being emotionally available to your partner on an important occasion, an infidelity of any type or failure to tune in to your partner's needs at significant times.
As part of marriage and couples counseling, you'll learn to safely revisit past hurts and bring about healing and some closure. Through this process, you'll develop the tools to handle similar challenges in the future.
Better Parenting, Too!
Your children learn from your marriage -- they are keen observers of how you relate to each other, can become fearful when you argue and pick up very subtle cues about what a marriage should be like.
And (yes, this is scary) they take what they learn from you and, good or not-so-good, into their adult relationships.
Working on your marriage helps your kids in several ways:
- They can learn what a close, connected marriage looks like.
- You are less focused on the discord between you and your spouse. You can be more attuned to your children's needs so that they get the quality of attention they need to feel secure.
- You can become a better team with your partner in parenting. You can learn to understand each other's parenting styles and preferences, have healthy conversations to resolve any differences and then be united in daily parenting.
- You can learn to use the same tools you'll learn in counseling when having important discussions with your children. So, when you talk with them about rules, boundaries, behaviors and other concerns, they will be better able to understand your concerns.
Opening New Doors
With EFT, your "gift" to your relationship provides an opportunity to grow and learn together, to restore the love and caring that powerfully brought you together.
In summary, the benefits of counseling using the EFT process include:
- Resolve long-standing issues or differences in a calm, cooperative way
- End arguing more quickly and without hurting each other's feelings
- Improve communication about big and small concerns
- Become an effective team in parenting
- Connect with each other through a greater depth of understanding
- Feel close again, to spend healthy time together and to recover the feelings of love that brought you together
- Heal wounds of past hurts, including infidelity.
I understand that selecting a therapist can feel challenging. To help you get acquainted, I offer a no-cost 15-minute phone consultation. You can contact me directly at (602) 882-0533 or via email at .
I look forward to talking with you!
EFT is the most well-researched and proven couples-counseling approach. Choosing a marriage counselor with EFT training can give your relationship the best chance for success."
In this short video, learn from Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, about the importance of the bond we have with our partner. You'll see how powerful that bond is and perhaps relate to the disconnection you may be experiencing in your own relationship.